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Electronic systems have of course complicated things for all of us, but it's not simply a case of the manufacturers trying to nail us for more money, and having to use their workshops; the diagnostic tests can be vitally important. Take some ABS pumps for instance if the four pipes are mixed up (and it'd be easily done), the brakes will still work normally. Right up until the point when the ABS is activated during an emergency and the wheels lock solid, potentially throwing you over the front of the bike. It has happened. Part of the diagnostic process that's drummed into technicians during the training is a simple test that confirms all is safe. Of course a competent DIY mechanic can still work on their own bike, not to mention an independent professional technician, but there's no denying that it is getting tougher. Should we consider it a price to pay for progress? Many will argue that the advance in motorcycle electronics is a progression they never wanted, but this new technology could be what keeps bikes on the road as emissions legislation tightens not just in Europe, but across the globe. Talking to Yamaha's best technicians has truly opened my eyes. Of course, there are good and bad in any trade, but as manufacturers work harder to encourage their mechanics to progress, not to mention their dealers to nurture that enthusiasm, it's becoming easier to find a workshop that you're happy to leave your bike with. I'll still be doing as much of my own spannering as possible, but I might just trust someone else with my bike now too...

Fifteen years on from the first GSX-R1000, Suzuki has released the latest in a long line of machines that between them boast 11 World Endurance Championship titles, eight wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours, seven titles at the AMA Superbike Championship, 31 national titles, and nine wins at the Bol d'Or 24 Hours Endurance. With the new bike, Suzuki says it intends to "Gain back the king of sportbike crown," with increased engine performance, a better chassis, lighter weight and electronic rider aids. There will be two models available a standard and an R version. Both bikes feature an all-new 999.8cc liquid-cooled dohc four-cylinder motor, making a claimed 199bhp @ 13,200rpm and 87lb-ft @ 10,800rpm (up from 183bhp@ 12,000rpm and 86lb-ft @ 10,000rpm). The engine's carried in a brand-new aluminium frame covered in redesigned, more aerodynamic bodywork. Both have ride-by-wire throttle bodies and `Motion Track' traction control, which uses the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to control power on straights, in corners, and as the bike lifts or tips forward. The same system controls braking, though only on the GSXR1000R is the force regulated during cornering, taking into account the degree of roll. Both bikes use the IMU to control the brakes relative to the machine's pitch. An LED headlight and indicators are standard, but the R model also gets LED position lights, along with a lightweight battery and a reversed display on the full LCD instruments. The R also has Showa's `Balance Free' forks and shock, with a lightweight triple clamp, while the standard model is suspended by a regular Showa shock and `Big Piston' forks.
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